America’s economic prosperity and military superiority largely revolves around the US’ leading role in technology innovation, which is itself driven by science and technology development. But the same companies and public institutions that are driving US innovation today are also being targeted by foreign nation-states for intellectual property pillaging through a broad range of techniques, including the use of economic leverage, cyber theft, and reverse engineering.
The US government uses a number of tools to prevent sensitive technologies from being acquired by potential economic and political rivals, but these same tools can have the effect of limiting the ability of U.S. companies to access foreign markets or restrict access to innovative technologies here in the United States. Similarly, such techniques may limit the ability of U.S. consumers to obtain goods at the lowest price possible, causing economic challenges. And political pressure to enter into economic agreements that create immediate benefits for companies and consumers alike is a constant reality. As such, a core issue that must be addressed in the new decade is how the US government can both protect the innovation that is the engine of American economic growth and the pillar of American national security while also remaining economically engaged and politically competitive.